My Most Popular Post

I find it curious to look at my stats to see what posts continue to get hits throughout the years. As I’ve been doing this for for a long time, my blog has gone through many iterations. I have many interests. That’s a problem. But earlier in my blogging life, I wrote primarily about history, philosophy, and literature — Enlightenment based, I’m sorry to say (the Enlightenment gets a bad rap these days, and I haven’t forgotten I promised to write a response to that hate). At least a few of those posts get a hit or two a day, mostly during standard college semesters. These hits are from students looking for inspiration re their banal essays. Or they’re studying for a test. Who knows?

However, there is one post of mine that blows all others out of the water. What an expression! I suppose the post is a whale? It’s probably an embarrassing post now because it was one in which I tried to give personality types to book characters. Enneagram personality types, specifically. This is it: Solving One Of Literature’s Great Questions Through the Enneagram. Undoubtedly, I mistyped Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet. I think I called her a type 8, and she is almost certainly a 6 by Enneagram theory. That wouldn’t have changed my analysis, however, in determining that Elizabeth represents Pride while Mr. Darcy represents Prejudice. I was right because my analysis of Darcy was spot-on. The enneagram 1, as I typed him, is a serious reformer type who expects right behavior from himself and everybody around him. He has very high standards and rarely relaxes. Therefore, he’s a judgemental person who suffers from a great deal of prejudice.

Despite its imperfect analysis, that post gets many hits a day and, short of deleting it, it will continue to do so. This is because, in an era where we are trying to find meaning in our lives through identity, personality typing systems are very popular. And, honestly, they do serve a purpose, as they’re created by people who observe the world closely. But what makes Enneagram especially interesting to people is its almost frighteningly accurate descriptions of people’s motivations and fears. Good observers of the world do clue into these underlying parts of the people they interact with, but most people just aren’t that observant. Even writers tend to be lacking in this area, projecting their own motivations and fears onto their characters. That’s one reason why I’m not often impressed by characterization.

That brings me to Jane Austen. She continues to be an ever-popular author. Combining her with Enneagram was a sure bet. It’s too bad I didn’t recognize that at the time. If I were able to do that, I would be more successful, instead of bumbling around and writing posts that interest me. Going back to personalities and characterization, though, Austen understood people. She was a shrewd observer of the world, and a little misanthropic, as well. Misanthropy may not always be a reliable witness, but it does prevent a person from idealizing the world. Ruthlessly mocking it, sure. Wishing humans would uphold ideals, maybe. But sentamentalizing the human ability to act righteously is definitely not part of it.

The enneagram imparts identity, meaning, and understanding to people who lack it. Jane Austen gives us shrewd diagnoses that still manage to become love stories. What a combo. I guess I should strive for that combination all the time. In fact, I do. In my books, of course.

And then I will become the Most Popular Me Ever, Writer of Unsentimentally Shrewd Romances* With Androids and Aliens (that will give you a firm sense of your own unique identity). Snort.

As you can tell, I’ve been looking backwards a lot at my career and writing, but it’s always with an eye to the future.

*The Minaverse couldn’t be considered a romance even in a stretch, but there’s romance in it. Same with my other books, though the others have a little more emphasis on it. Sorry to disappoint.

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5 comments

  1. Made me go back and look through my old posts. Interesting stuff to see what’s popular. I get a lot of reads from Google searches for my Shakespeare quick read alongs.

    As for your post. I actually do the Myers Briggs for all my characters. I’m a ENTP and I feel like it’s spot on. I’ve never heard of ennagrams so I did a quick online test. I’m a type 8.

    1. I used to consider enneagram types for my book characters. Now I just use the same observational approach from pre personality type days. I test as an INTJ (5), so my own system works for me. 🙂

  2. My most popular post, too, is about personality types (fellow INTJ checking in), consistently, far-and-away, for the last couple years. The content was quoted from another site, and it was worded negatively. I did this in response to the personality test results that use glowing terms to describe the type. Makes sense, a negatively-worded result wouldn’t make those annoying tests very recommendable. That’s what’s funny about language: you can frame an object, like a personality type, favorably or unfavorably, via word choice and composition, and both would be equally as accurate. Point of view is everything.

    Going to read your post now. I tried many times to really get into Austen. I definitely like her wordplay and her style in general, but the plot content really doesn’t grab me. Maybe I’ll try again soon.

    1. I remember that post. It was funny. That is a difference with the enneagram; it uses very negative language to describe the downsides of the types. Myers-Briggs might, too, but it’s become such a pop science that most people only revel in the glowing parts.

    2. I meant to add that, yeah, all her books come down to romances because they’re about women of the landed gentry who have little money or options for making it but to marry somebody with a secure income. Not always big, as in Sense and Sensibility, but secure. This was Austen’s problem. She never married and, hence, started writing books to have an income.

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